In my usual peripatetic but uneven course over the VS.NET terrain, I've stumbled across Web components from time to time, some stellar, others not. But none that I've seen so far shines as brightly as does RichDatePicker from RicherComponents, the well known ASP and Web components vendor.
Anybody who's ever messed with the calendar control built into ASP.NET knows that it's barely serviceable, and requires multiple post-backs to calculate start- and end-dates for date queries, along with marginal functionality that requires developers to roll their own code to calculate or manipulate dates, calendar periods, and so forth.
RichDatePicker goes way beyond what the ASP.NET calendar control offers, and includes all kinds of ways to slice and dice calendar views and data: It can calculate the number of business days from a start date to an end date, track holidays, offers numerous ways to select dates by day, week, month, or quarter, track financial periods (Q1, H1, fiscal years, and other financial date mechanisms), and more. Furthermore, the default calendar display looks enough like Outlook's built-in Calendar to fool all but the most attentive, which means users can pick up and run with UIs that incorporate this control without thinking about what they're doing with the calendar, or how they must do it.
Better yet, the whole shebang is packaged in the context of a single, easily re-usable DLL that one need only drop into the ASP.NET /bin folder, or merely by using VS.NET to reference that same DLL (at which point, it's added automatically). From there, it's just a matter of playing with the control to add drop-down, inline, or pop-up calendars to your code, and then to play all kinds of fancy date selection and manipulation tricks within those calendars to take care of everything on the client side (no server back-and-forth required, period).
If you're interested, you can grab a free evaluation download from the site to take a closer look. But you might just be able to see enough by looking at the product demos instead. Price is $149 for a single-user server or developer license, or $990 to $1799 for the various site, corporate, and OEM licenses also available.
Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at email@example.com with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review.